The Ethos of Local History:
The Ethical Foundation and Moral Imperatives
© Lyubov S. Moskovchuk
Cand. Sci. (Theory and History of Culture), Assoc. Prof.,
Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”,
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
Аbstract: The article deals with the system of ethical values on which local history is based. Local history, as an interdisciplinary theoretical and practical activity, generates a lot of ethical dilemmas and needs ethical reflection, especially now when thanks to the development of technology local history classes become popular and accessible to many people of different ages and different levels of education. Inclusion of young people in local history through volunteer projects should be adapted to the specifics of the moral codes of related specialties (search movement, academic, journalistic, etc. ethics) and should rely on the ethical principles of local history. In the article, the applicability of the terms “ethos” and “professional code of ethics” to local history are reasoned. On the one hand, the lack of specialty like “local historian” and its amateur character do not allow us to speak about a professional code. On the other hand, ethical orientation and a high level of social responsibility encourage us to speak about the necessity of developing an ethical code. Thus, the axiological system of local history could be considered from the position of professional or applied ethics. At this level of the study, the author prefers to use the term ethos as a reflection of basic values and moral imperatives. Among the most typical problems a local historian may face is the conscious or unconscious violation of research ethics, disclosure of confidential information, the abuse of position and knowledge, causing damage to cultural sites out of ignorance, etc. The search movement, which pays the biggest attention to ethics because of its specificity, stands out as it has a developed ethical code unlike other types of local history. The analysis of the local history practice has allowed allocating the most typical moral dilemmas and formulating the basic moral imperatives: overcoming of globalization; preservation of identity in parallel with intercultural dialogue; dedication to constructive tolerance; free creativity that is yet coordinated with the like-minded and is based on the ideals of scientific rationality and academic ethics; protection of the interests of the society and culture and opposition to commercialization and pragmatism. Ignoring the ethical component can be the reason for discrediting local history and related volunteer projects in the eyes of the public and professionals from related sciences. The participation of local history representatives in the discussion of ethical problems in their activities will positively affect the status of local history and its institutionalization.
Keywords: axiology, professional ethics, applied ethics, ethos, local history, code of ethics, young people, volunteer movement.
Article information: Received on August 20, 2019, signed by the print, volume 2 / 2019 on September 26, 2019, published on September 30, 2019
Full bibliographic reference to the article: Moskovchuk, L. S. (2019) The Ethos of Local History: The Ethical Foundation and Moral Imperatives. Nasledie vekov – Heritage of Centuries. 3. pp. 29–35. [Online] Available from: http://heritage-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2019_3_Moskovchuk.pdf (Accessed: dd.mm.yyyy). (In Russian).